These dulce de leche magic bars are one of the easiest recipes I make. Some links in this post are affiliate links which may earn me a commission if you purchase through them.
I first made these when Little Miss has a bake sale at her school, and they sold out in a flash. I should have made more – and I could have, as I have all the ingredients in my pantry most of the time.
They are super easy and quick to make, and I love that you can change it up to fit your needs and what you have in your pantry without worrying a ton about measurements. Flexibility is king in my house.
These are sorta like seven layer bars, but I used only six simply because I don’t like nuts. And for a bake sale, I don’t want to make them less allergy friendly.
Looking for more great bake sale or cookie exchange recipes? Check out some of my favorites at the end of this article.
What other ingredients can I use for dulce de leche magic bars?
These sweet and salty cereal bars need a mix of sweet and salty. Feel free to get creative with this with the caveat that you don’t want to have more than 7 to 7 1/2 cups of layers total (outside the graham cracker base).
This would be great with slivered almonds or chopped pecans or walnuts if you love nuts. If you add nuts, think about lightly toasting them before you add them to the pan to give even more flavor.
Rather than Cheerios, use another favorite cereal, whether it be Rice Krispies or Chex, etc. You want and need something that provides some bulk without being too sweet, so go for a cereal without a ton of flavor on its own.
I used half semi sweet and half milk chocolate chips, but there are so many flavors that you could use. Try peanut butter chips or butterscotch chips. White chocolate chips would be great, too. The only ones I would avoid: ones like peppermint chips that are too stark a contrast in flavor.
Does it matter what kind of pretzels I use?
Obviously, you don’t want to use a flavored pretzel, so skip the honey mustard pretzels my daughter loves. As for the shape, this is less critical.
If you have pretzel sticks or the traditional pretzel shape, that works as well as the pretzel squares I used. I would avoid the pretzel nuggets and other thicker shapes, as they can be sharp when you crush them and have too much “inside” to outside ratio.
Can I make dulce de leche magic bars gluten free?
Yes, you can make gluten free dulce de leche magic bars. These layered bar cookies have two ingredients that contain gluten: the graham cracker crust and the pretzels.
Cheerios used to not be gluten free, but they are now certified gluten free. However, you can substitute them with another cereal that you prefer. Rice Chex would work well, as would Rice Krispies, both of which are also gluten free.
Because you don’t stir these sweet and salty magic bars, you can use a more delicate cereal, too, like a gluten free corn flake (not Corn Flakes, which have gluten). Barbara’s and others also have a range of gluten free cereals that you could use.
If you prefer a straight gluten free option, my seven layer bars are a great gluten free option.
What is the best way to crush graham crackers?
For this recipe, you don’t need to crush your graham crackers completely. I usually place them in a bag and run a rolling pin over them gently.
If you have a food processor, that is often the fastest (and cleanest) way to crush them. Just pulse it on and off 10 or so times until you have pebble size crumbs.
That said, if you choose to purchase graham cracker crumbs instead of crushing your own, that works, too. You want about 2 cups of graham cracker crumbs in total for these dulce de leche magic bars. It’s more expensive than crushing your own but works just fine.
How to Make Dulce de Leche Magic Bars
Crush the graham crackers into large crumbles. Feel free to prep your pretzels the same way, but make sure to keep them separate.
Add the crumbs and the melted butter into a 13×9 pan and mix together until it’s all incorporated, then press into the bottom of the pan. (Seriously, why dirty another bowl? – my motto in life)
I have made this in both a glass baking dish and a metal nonstick pan. Both work equally well.
Add half the pretzels to the top of the crust. Add half of each type of chocolate chip, the Cheerios, and the coconut flakes. One note on the coconut: this is a sweet dessert, use the unsweetened coconut flake for this.
Add the remainder of the Cheerios, pretzels, chocolate chips, and coconut in a second layer. The good news is that the exact amounts aren’t particular.
In fact, it’s possible that I didn’t measure what half looked like at all but just estimated. And it totally worked.
Gently smooth the pan with clean hands to provide a relatively even surface. Don’t mix anything, and it doesn’t need to be perfect.
Pour the can of sweetened condensed milk over the pan, covering it equally. Again, you don’t stir it at all, so do your best to spread it out by pouring it evenly across the top.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes until golden brown.
Let the pan cool fully, then cut into squares.
Pro tip: Run a knife around the edge of the pan or use your bench scraper (my favorite tool) to help release the squares before you try to remove them. I use my bench scraper to cut, as well, which doesn’t damage my pan. Yum.
Like this idea? Bookmark these dulce de leche magic bars for later!
More of my favorite recipes for bake sales and pot luck desserts:
- Frosted banana bars
- Classic Texas sheetcake brownies
- Chocolate chip oat bars
- Cherry crumb bar recipes
- Peppermint chocolate cookies
- Nutella no bake cookies
- Homemade English toffee
- Triple chocolate dipped cookies
- Chewy s’mores cookies
- 1 sleeve graham crackers, plus 2 extra - crushed (a little over 2 cups)
- 1/2 c butter, melted
- 2 c Cheerios
- 1 1/2 c pretzels, crushed
- 1 1/2 c milk chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 3/4 c shredded coconut
- 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
- Crush graham crackers into large crumbles.
- Add crumbs and melted butter into a 13x9 pan and mix together until incorporated, then press into the bottom of the pan.
- Crush the pretzels, then add half the pretzels to the crust. Layer half of each type of chocolate chip, Cheerios, and coconut.
- Repeat each layer, then gently smooth into a semi-even layer.
- Pour can of sweetened condensed milk over the pan, covering it equally.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes until golden brown.
- Let cool fully, then run a knife around the edges to loosen it before you cut into squares.
Feel free to get creative with the layers. Use a variety of chips from peanut butter to butterscotch to white chocolate chips. Add nuts if you like, and feel free to switch out the cereal for what you have on hand.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1 bar
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 183Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 103mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 2gSugar: 14gProtein: 2g
This site uses an outside source to provide nutrition as a courtesy. If you need exact values, please calculate yourself.
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